Etruria: The Empire of the Etruscans (Part 3)

Etruscan Worship
Because of the nature of their salvation, the Etruscans are a very devout people, paying regular tribute to the gods who helped save and who still protect their civilization. As such, they are very in touch with the ways of their gods and can see many things in nature pertaining to their moods and habits.

Augury and Divination
In accordance with Tages’s teachings, the Etruscans have become very skilled in the art of divination. Most of this ability comes from a reading of signs given to them in the sky.

Typically, signs come in the forms of birds or lightning sent by the gods. Depending on where these signs are seen in the sky, it tells the seer whether there is good or bad fortune in the future. A bird, or a bolt of lightning seen in the Northeast, for example, is typically seen as a sign of blessing from the gods. If the same sign is seen coming from the Southwest, however, then it is a sign of dark things to come. Meanwhile, vultures were typically seen as good omens, no matter the case. Thus, a vulture in the South may be seen as good fortune coming after a long economic hardship.

Where a sign is seen in relation to these points can give the seer a more exacting understanding of things to come; how bad, how good, whether it is a mixed blessing, etc.

Because of Tages’s teachings, many can use the gift of augury without having any other magical knowledge. For purposes of game play, consider these people as having taken the seer feat (See below)

Divine Seer [General]
You receive insights into the future from your god.

Prerequisite: Charisma 13, Knowledge (religion) 8 ranks.

Benefit: You can make a sacrifice to your god once per day in order to receive signs from the sky about the future. The effect only works while outside, but otherwise functions like the spell augury.

Etruscan Temples
Because of their extreme devotion, the Etruscans have built grand temples to their gods in order to thank them for their continued blessing. As such, each of the twelve major cities of the Etruscan Empire is dominated by a temple devoted to a particular god. In Caere, for example, the people worship Uni, the goddess of the cosmos, and in Pupluna, Fufluns, the god of wine. Perhaps the most famous of these temples, however, is the Temple of Tinia, located in the city of Tarquina and built by Tarchon himself.

Temples were divided into sixteen segments, each in accordance with the different segments of the sky, and are mostly used to assist clerics in the art of augury and divination of the heavens. Because of their use in divination, temples are typically built near a city’s fortress, to determine the usefulness of a particular strategy on the battlefield. It is also important to have them built close to the fortresses so that sacrifices can be made to ensure the favor of the gods in war.

New Gods
During the time of the Etruscans, Rome was merely a city that was part of their greater empire. As a result, the Romans were heavily influenced by the Etruscan mythos and many of the gods that exist in the Etruscan Pantheon have Roman counterparts. Thus, Tinia is Jupiter, Aplu is Apollo, Fufluns is Dionysus, etc. Nevertheless, there are a few who have no such counterpart in Roman mythology who are pivotal to the Etruscan mythos. The following are just a few examples of these deities who have particular influence on the lives of all Etruscans.

Alpan: Alpan is a former lassa, turned air goddess, who is associated with love and death. Alpan is usually depicted as a winged, nude woman holding laurels and is considered Neutral Good. Her titles include La Bellaria, the Protector of Souls, and the Lady of Flowers. Though she is almost unknown in other parts of the world, Alpan is worshipped by the people of Etruria for her help in thwarting Nergal’s curse. Alpan’s servants are typically women who believe that all souls have a right to love and to hav a peaceful afterlife. The domains she is associated with are Air, Bereavement, Good, and Protection. Her favored weapon is the longsword.

Tages: Tages is the earth god of wisdom and divination. He is usually depicted as a baby wrapped in swaddling rags with the face and beard of an old man. Tages is considered Neutral. His worshippers are typically robed sages who look to the flights of birds, the flash of lightning, and other signs that reveal the will of the gods. The domains Tages is associated with are Earth, Knowledge, Protection, Magic and Protection. His favored weapon is the quarterstaff.

Nergal: Nergal is the lord of the underworld and is considered Neutral Evil. For reasons that have never been exactly clear, he has long had a brooding hatred for the ancient Resena and their descendants, the Etruscans. Nergal has long sought to destroy the Etruscan culture, and his followers seek to do the same. In worship, his clerics typically wear robes of dark purple. His domains are Death, Evil, and Trickery. His favored weapon is the longsword.

Xaru: Xaru is the demon servant of Nergal and is considered Chaotic Evil. He is usually depicted as having a vulture nose, pointed ears and dragon wings carrying a large warhammer. Xaru delights in the torture of those that have led a wicked life and has many who follow him in this delight. When worshipping openly his followers are typically seen dressed in dark shrouds of red and black. The domains he is associated with are Death, Destruction, Evil, and War. His favored weapon is the warhammer.

Cleric Domains
In addition to the domains found in the Player’s Handbook, Alpan allows her followers to choose from the following domain spells. This new domain follows all the rules presented for domains in the Player’s Handbook. (Bold Italic entries in the domain spell lists indicate spells that are unique to this Campaign Setting).

Deities: Alpan.
Granted Power: You may use a death touch once per day. Your death touch is a supernatural ability that produces a death effect. When you touch, roll 1d6 per cleric level you possess. If the total at least equals the creature’s current hit points, it dies (no save).

Bereavement Domain Spells
1 Deathwatch: Reveals how near death subjects are within 30 ft.
2 Death Knell: Kills dying creature; you gain 1d8 temporary hp, +2 to Str, and +1 level.
3 Speak with Dead: Corpse answers one question/two levels.
4 Death Ward: Grants immunity to death spells and negative energy effects.
5 Death Atonement: As atonement except that it removes the burden of misdeeds from dying subject.
6 Undeath to Death: Destroys 1d4 HD/ level undead (max 20d4)
7 Finger of Death: Kills one subject.
8 Vengeance of the Dead: Spirits of the dead deal 1d6/level of cold damage to opponents.
9 Wail of the Banshee: Kills one creature/level.

Spell Descriptions
The following spell descriptions are new spells unique to the Etruscan Campaign Setting. They are presented here in alphabetical order.

Death Atonement
Level: Clr 5, Bereavement 5
Components: V, S, M, F, DF, XP
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Touch
Target: Living creature touched
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes
Like atonement, except that this spell is used to remove the burden of evil acts or misdeeds from dying subjects. In addition, if the creature truly repents for its misdeeds, the caster receives the blessing of their deity, granting them a +4 bonus to their Charisma for a period of 1 week.

Vengeance of the Dead
Level: Clr 8, Sor/Wiz 8, Bereavement 8
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: All opponents within a 40 ft. radius spread
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: No
This spell summons a roiling mass of tortured spirits from Limbo, who were traitors to their alignment in their former lives. These spirits attack for one round, dealing 1d6/level of cold damage to all of your opponents. Once they have performed this action, their traitorous acts are considered atoned for and they are allowed to pass on into the True Afterlife. Note: Good spellcasters only summon spirits who are of Good or Neutral alignment, while evil spellcasters only summon spirits who are of Evil or Neutral alignment.

Adventuring in Etruria
There are many adventures that await those who desire it. The lands of Etruria are plagued by attacks from enemy neighbors, their ships hunted by pirates, and their citizens terrorized by large beasts of the wilderness. In addition to these every day threats, the echo of Nergal’s curse still lingers in the minds of most Etruscans. Below are just a few examples of possible adventures that await the daring.

The Umbrians
The Umbrians are some of the earliest known inhabitants of the lands of Etruria. Although influenced heavily by the Etruscans in their culture, their art, and their language, the Umbrians are still upset by what they see as an invasion into their lands. As a result, the Umbrians have been off and on at war with the Etruscans for many years.

Today, the Etruscans are too powerful both in military and economic might for the Umbrians to pose much threat. Nevertheless, periodic raids are staged against Etruscan villages and cities by the poorer and more afflicted members of Umbrian society.

Recently, there has been talk of the Umbrians negotiating with the Hoths; nomadic, barbarian tribes of the north. Although these rumors have been so far unsubstantiated, it can be sure that if true, the Umbrians are planning another attack on the Etruscan Empire.

The Phoeceans
The Phoeceans are a warlike people who come from the lands of Ionia. Establishing the settlement Marseille in the lands of Carthage, at the mouth of the Rhone River, the Phoeceans have been using their superior warships to attack the peaceful merchants of both the Carthaginians and the Etruscans. This has posed a serious threat to the economic stability of both countries and the Carthaginians and the Etruscans have formed an alliance against this common enemy.

Adventurers from both countries are being hired to protect ships traveling through the areas being attacked by these marauding pirates, and the government of Carthage is hiring some to protect its inland borders from further attack.

The Three Headed Beasts of Etruria
The lands of Etruria are filled with centaurs, satyrs, nymphs, dryads, and other creatures of ancient origin. For the most part, these creatures are either benign or indifferent to their Etruscan neighbors and leave them well enough alone, but there are some who are particularly nasty to the peoples of Etruria.

Perhaps the greatest threat to the Etruscans are the chimera. These three headed beasts were sent to the lands of Etruria by the god Nergal and are a constant woe to the country’s inhabitants. Meanwhile, at sea, the merchant ships are often plagued by attacks from sea cats aggressively defending their territories. Adventurers are often hired to deal with these threats and to protect Etruria’s citizens from harm.

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